Harrison County

CSX will review Biloxi railroad crossings next week

A CSX investigator walks the tracks on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at the scene of Tuesday’s fatal train-bus wreck at the Main Street railroad crossing in Biloxi. CSX inspectors will be back in Biloxi next week for a diagnostic review of Biloxi’s railroad corridor.
A CSX investigator walks the tracks on Wednesday, March 8, 2017 at the scene of Tuesday’s fatal train-bus wreck at the Main Street railroad crossing in Biloxi. CSX inspectors will be back in Biloxi next week for a diagnostic review of Biloxi’s railroad corridor. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

CSX inspectors will complete a diagnostic review next week of the entire Biloxi railroad corridor, the city’s chief administrative officer, Mike Leonard told the City Council on Tuesday.

“They’re looking at every single crossing and looking at safety,” Leonard said.

The inspection comes a month after four people died when their tour bus became stuck at the Main Street railroad crossing and was hit by a CSX train.

Since then, the council has approved a list of six crossings the city will agree to close — Nixon, Holley, Iroquois, Dorries and Delauney streets and Querens Avenue — and Leonard said the city emailed a copy of the list to CSX.

In exchange for closing these crossings, the city hopes to open two new ones when construction begins for the Popp’s Ferry extension in West Biloxi and to finish the road loop around East Biloxi.

“I don’t think six is a done deal yet,” Leonard said. Although this is the initial list, he said it’s the first agreement after decades about talking of closing crossings. He expects the crossings to close in phases as funding becomes available to build service roads to eliminate dead-end roads.

In other action Tuesday:

▪  Leonard reported Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich is in Washington meeting with Coast legislators about additional funding for infrastructure and building a new gate at Keesler Air Force Base. The city is working to acquire six properties on Forrest Avenue to build the gate off Division Street, he said.

▪  The council approved a Tidelands lease at zero payment with Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann for a $4.2 million expansion of the Popp’s Ferry Causeway Park. Charlie Dellenger, director of business development with Seymour Engineering, said the park will have an interpretive center, new piers, a concrete boardwalk, a bait shop and other amenities when work is done in a year.

▪  Harrison County Supervisor Beverly Martin said dedication of a new senior center in East Biloxi will be April 6 and the ribbon-cutting for the new splash pad at Hiller Park will be April 8. That’s the same day as the Easter egg hunt at 3 p.m. at the park, Council President Dixie Newman said. Martin said the county plans to build a splash pad in Ward 2 when the infrastructure work is done, and one at the new sports complex in D’Iberville.

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